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We Work Again


Published 1937


How the New Deal benefits African Americans.

This version is prepared from the holdings of the National Archives. It is higher quality than the version in the Prelinger Collection as the source was 35mm with substantially less scratches and dirt. It does appear to be a bit dark, and perhaps loses some detail as a result.

NAIL: 69.6
ARC: 12322


Run time 15:12
Sponsor Works Progress Administration
Audio/Visual sound, black & white

Reviews

Reviewer: hemilyr - - May 14, 2014
Subject: BABaston is super racist
This film is priceless, but not for the disgusting libertarian racism on display in the above comment.
Reviewer: Steve Marshall - - August 25, 2010
Subject: FYI: Yes, includes Orson Welles/Federal Theatre Project's Macbeth
FYI: Just in case you're looking for Orson Welles' production of Macbeth, which was part of the Federal Theatre Project's Negro Theater Unit: Yes, this film has it. It's about the last four minutes of the film.
Reviewer: BABatson - - July 9, 2009
Subject: Progress on all levels!
Prior to the Truman years, one might say, the Civil Rights years, the progress of the Negro in America accelerated geometrically; every step forward yielded several step's distance ahead. Afro-American businesses and professional people, small business ownership on every level -- remember the Fuller Brush Man? -- and life generally was improving daily, the ugliness of race prejudice rapidly becoming extinct.

Then came the forced race mixing -- forced integration -- and reinterpretation of civil rights to mean not individual liberties and equality before Government, but loss of individual liberties and property rights allegedly no longer protected by that Government due to changes in Public Policy. The Truman years, and integration of the military; the Eisenhower and his Supreme Court Chief Justice Oakland Republican Earl Warren; Martin King and Ralph Abernathy, and the sit-ins and boycots -- these became the touchstone for Negro advancement. Instead of peace, they brought anarchy and mass drug addiction, the ravages of alcohol, the loss in Negro identity and African American owned business; instead of the coloured owned lunch counter on the corner came white owned McChicken joints, instead of peace and dignity there came incredibly advancing crime waves and ignominy, such that today nearly a quarter of young Negro men are either presently incarcerated or past convicts; homes are broken, fatherless homes now account for the half of all family situations amongst coloured Americans.

Loss of dignity is met with loss of identity, as Negro neighbourhoods and schools become broken, dislocated, and destroyed -- leading to a herd mentality and treatment like cattle rather than human beings.

Here see the alternative opening up during the Roosevelt years, before closing down after WWII. Here is the beginning of what might have become a Negro renaissance in America far surpassing everything ever achieved in Africa -- then or now. The famous line of the Confederate Anthem, 'God Save The South,' decries, 'They would fetter the free man to set free the slave!' No, it did not happen so; they fettered everybody and destroyed that wonderous progress being rapidly and most thoroughly born and being raised -- only to be sunk is a morass at the alters of a false "Civil Rights". Here is the begenning of that which never survived childhood; judge for yourselves!

The Haitian backgrounded Shakespearean MacBeth is superb, by the way -- where is such escellence of acting, such diction and decorum, in Black Theatre today? "Decorum": that is the spirit of a just and a good evolution which was pure and productive, and pourtrayed here as propagated during the positive and future-facing pre-war years of our parents and grandparents. I think that it is the spirit of patient, steady progress so well pictured here, that is the message of this classic, the which I haven't the skills to categorise cinemetrically, and so invite you all to think and re-think the American experience -- a different aspect of which is here wonderfully presented, preserved for all prosperity, as surely is the well-founded and welcomed hope of the Archive project.
Reviewer: Seto-Kaiba_Is_Stupid - - June 9, 2009
Subject: A Must See Classic!
Note 1: Interesting to see African American life from this period, considering that segregation still existed in the south and many people still didn't fully accept Blacks (though progress was being made during this period, if very slowly).
Note 2: It's good to see a genuine attempt at finding work for the many out-of-work people in the USA at this time, though as the previous reviewer notes, it would take WW2 to fully repair the US economy (ironic, isn't it?).
Note 3: Some things never change, if the swimming pool scene is anything to judge by (it could easily pass for today if it was in colour).
Note 4: Interesting to see the kinds of jobs that existed at this point, such as construction, demolition, teaching, health-care, "domestics", among others.
Note 5: The last few minutes of this film consists of the only known footge of a all-Black production of "Macbeth" staged by Orson Welles. Yes, the same guy who directed "Citizen Kane" and scared millions with his version of "War of the Worlds".
Reviewer: Searchlight - - February 18, 2008
Subject: the depression
This is a good documentary,I recommend it to anyone
who is interested in the history of the USA or
the history of the depression.It should be noted these government programs didn't end the depression.
As a matter of fact unemployment began to rise to
the same levels again in 39 and 40.
The war ended the depression.That is the puzzle to
be solved.Maybe,it's not the spending,but National
unity and purpose that's important.
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